Really worried about 5-year-old's pencil grip and writing/drawing(13 Posts)
My DS is REALLY bad at holding a pencil/crayon - his grip is weak and totally incorrect - and he struggles to draw or write anything.
He's very much a boy's boy - rushing around sword-fighting, playing superheroes, and has never been one to want to sit down and colour - and I didn't mind or really push. But I've really noticed it since he started school - as I can't help but notice other kids drawings. He's clever - really good at reading already, incredibly good vocabulary, elaborate imagination - but his fine motor skills seem so behind.
He's not clumsy in other ways and can do lego etc and is unbelievably good and advanced at Playstation - ie can use the controls perfectly - it just seems to be a total inability - and TOTAL lack of desire - to use a pencil/crayon etc. I've spoken once to his teachers about it and they told me not to worry - but I'm not sure that's correct? I've never been particularly pushy about it. But maybe I should be a bit more pushy?
Anyone have a similar problem or have any advice? I almost wondered if I should get in touch with an occupational therapist - but maybe that's jumping the gun as he's only five!
ANY advice much appreciated!!
My advice is don't worry at all. School will monitor it. He's still very young. Some countries don't even start school until 7.
This something I saw a lot when working with boys between 5 and 7 years of age. Getting an ergonomic pen can help with this, as it makes it easier to grip and then the practice writing builds the muscles.
I don't write nearly as much as I used to, and when I do sit down with pen and paper my hand hurts pretty quickly - so I can understand why it's not appealing to children to do it. Little bits of practice every day to build up the strength and control, even if it's just drawing squiggles on paper.
I have gone through this with my now 10 year old (is Home Educated so this has all been down to me).
Actually I just remembered we played the Dots and Boxes game a lot.
Don't worry and give him time. Children develop these skills at different stages and I would expect him to catch up. Saying that, I think practicing drawing and writing would probably be a good idea. Does he spend a lot of time on the PS? This could explain why he is good at operating it. Maybe get a fun colouring book with a theme your DS would be interested in and get one for yourself too, if he is reluctant so you can do this together. There are loads of adult colouring books. If you are really worried, speak to the school to see if they are concerned and if they have any other fun ideas how to practice these skills.
I wouldn't be too concerned and as they all develop at different rates, but you could try the magic tissue?! It worked a treat with DS1 - you get a small tissue or something else very small and get them to grip it with their little finger and ring finger against their palm, that leaves the other fingers/thumb free for the tripod grip. We called it the magic tissue that would make it rally easy to do writing and drawing and that he had to grip it all the while he was holding the pencil. We only had to do it once or twice before he had git the habit of the correct grip.
I wouldn't be worried at this stage either - but wanted to say that we got our older son one of the handwriting pens from this range when he was seven or so, and it corrected his grip almost instantly. Maybe invest in some of the pencils for now?
My 5 yr old is similar. I think he may be mildly dyspraxia as he also struggles with organising himself and planning tasks. The problem was flagged up by his teacher at parents' evening and he's getting some help in a fine motor skills group at school. We have been practising at home with a Twist'n'Write pencil and the Write from the Start program, and have seen a dramatic improvement.
Part of me thinks "he's only 5, leave him be" but school have said his difficulty in writing is meaning he is behind in class whereas his reading and the ideas he can convey verbally are excellent, so 10 mins a day to practise writing doesn't seem too Tiger Mom.
He needs to build up the muscles in his hands. Use playdough or modelling clay and get him following things, squeezing, squashing. Then he'll be more comfortable holding a pencil. Just doing more pencil practice is going to put him off more if his hand hurts doing it. It's really common for boys to struggle with pencil grip and control - and a lot is to do with the muscles simple not being strong enough. Boys are about 18months behind girls. But really, don't worry!
Thanks so much for your ideas ladies - have ordered a deluge of pens and pencils - thank you!!! And will try to encourage him to do some playdough and maybe even some GOD FORBID colouring or writing for at least 10 minutes a day!! And attempt to not worry too much....and breathe....
Before he can master writing he needs the necessary gross motor skills that underpin this ability. Does he climb? If it were my child I would be getting him building up his core and upper body. Sweeping, large movements, painting a fence, throwing balls, swimming. Anything that will get him using his torso, his shoulder and his elbow. If these skills are lagging he may find sitting at a table difficult and colouring even more so. All that said its not unusual at this stage and in an average y1 class about a third are still mastering the necessary foundational abilities.
And as you have pointed out its not linked to inherent intellect.
Agree with the gross and fine motor skills suggestions, don't worry too much about the pencil yet. Google 'dough disco' good fun if he likes a bit of music and you make it as silly as you like with his fav songs.
Chunky pencils or ergonomic pens are great, don't push any particular drawing, writing etc... Just play at first, then trace wiggly, zig zag and straight lines in different directions.
He'll be fine, and school is right not to worry. But no harm in having a bit of fun while helping him develop.
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